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Tales From the ER: I'm always a nurse — even when I'm off the clock

By Anonymous Nurse | Posted - Apr 29th, 2013 @ 10:33am

SALT LAKE CITY — It is always good to have someone in the family who is a medical person because you can ask them a lot of questions about your health problems and concerns. For most of my family, I am that person. Not to say that I have been bombarded with questions or been asked to make house calls, but I have certainly been involved in some things that I would not have normally been involved in had I chosen a different career.

Just because I clock out at the end of my shift at the hospital doesn’t mean I stop being a nurse. A police officer has a similar life. If they are off-duty and witness something going on, they will step in and try to help. This was true in a miraculous way when the Trolley Square shooting happened in February 2007: An off-duty officer, who happened to be at Trolley Square that night, was able to stop the killer from shooting more people. It was a good thing he was there and willing to step in and stop the awful situation from getting worse.

Although none of my experiences even come close to that off-duty officer's, allow me to share two experiences from my “off-duty nursing.”

Last summer, during our annual family reunion near Panguitch Lake, our family was having some fun by pushing big rocks down a cliff and watching them smash into some very fragile, shale rocks that exploded when hit. My nephew was working on a particularly large rock that just wasn’t budging. He was able to move it a little and it rocked back, pinning his ring finger in between two big rocks. He instinctively pulled his hand back and, in so doing, almost tore the entire pad off from his finger tip.

I was about half way down the hill when he called after me saying he injured his finger. I met him halfway up and asked him how bad it was. “It’s really bad,” he responded. I took a quick look at his finger and quickly agreed with him.

The amazing part of the story is that my brother-in-law is a dentist and happened to have some lidocaine with an injector in his truck. I was able to numb his finger so he could bear the pain a little better as we took him to the hospital in Panguitch.

I know I am crazy, but I willingly subject myself to the pain and frustration of being a church ball referee. You could say this has afforded me some great opportunities to use my medical expertise.

In one situation a friend of mine was the lucky recipient of an inadvertent elbow to the face. This knocked him momentarily unconscious. As he lay there on the floor with people looking down at him, he had blood coming out of his nose, pooling beside his head.

After about 20 seconds he regained consciousness and was able to stand with some help. I walked with him to the bathroom to clean up the blood on his face. That was about the time I noticed how crooked his nose was. I told him he broke his nose and it would probably need to be reset. He asked me if I could do it and I told him I could.

I sat him down on the chair, had someone hold his head, counted to three and put his nose back in place. I thought the sound of his bone crunching together would make him pass out or scream in pain but he said it didn’t even hurt. I saw him a week later and am happy to report that he had no swelling, bruising, pain or other complications.

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